Lately, it seems there has been an alarming epidemic of abusive fan behavior toward officials during youth and high school sporting events.
The latest ugly incident comes to us from a recent youth softball tournament in Laurel, Mississippi. On the night of April 9, 47-year-old Kristie Moore was umpiring a game when a parent in the stands allegedly began acting unruly.
Kiara Nichelle Thomas, 32, the mother of a girl playing in the game, reportedly directed foul language at Moore and began questioning a call she made. Moore told USA TODAY Sports she later ejected Thomas, but the woman stayed until after the game and punched her in the face.
Moore suffered a black eye in the attack, while Thomas was later arrested for simple assault. You might have seen her mugshot going viral, considering she was wearing a “Mother of the Year” shirt when it was taken.
Thomas has also been banned from all recreational facilities in Laurel.
32-year-old Kiara Thomas was arrested & charged with assaulting softball umpire Kristi Moore in Laurel, MS this past weekend. Lowndes Co. Recreation Director Roger Short says incidents like this are why there is a shortage of youth officials across the state & country
— Stephen Pimpo (@spimpojr) April 12, 2022
Moore told WLBT that the abuse officials have been facing from parents, coaches and players has made the job harder lately.
“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “The verbal abuse. And even now, the physical abuse now, at this point, and enough is enough. I also staff every USFA tournament in the state of Mississippi with umpires and it gets harder and harder to staff these tournaments because no one wants to listen to the verbal abuse and run the risk of what happened to me happening to them.”
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